Posted by: Jeanie F | March 3, 2014

Where Do You Get Book Recommendations?

New and Recommended

Last week I had the good fortune to visit one of my favorite indie booksellers, Bay Books on Coronado Island. This is a great store, small but extremely well-stocked, with knowledgeable staff to recommend and discuss books. It got me thinking about how my own reading habits have changed since I’ve started doing most of my reading on my Kindle.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my Kindle, and I have been a Kindle reader since its inception. Recently, however, I’ve noticed that I’ve been jumping around, finding it difficult to settle on a book I want to read cover to cover. This is unusual for me, so I began to analyze what’s happened to my reading habits.

My trip to Bay Books crystalized my thinking. I miss examining a real book before I commit hours of my life to it.

When buying ebooks on Amazon, I tend to limit my choices to specific books that I am searching for, usually after reading a review or getting a recommendation. While I was in Bay Books I realized that some of my all-time favorites are books that I stumbled upon while browsing in a bookstore, often titles I had never seen. While Amazon displays the covers and provides free samples of the book, it really isn’t the same as holding the unknown book in my hand, flipping through the pages, maybe discussing the book with knowledgeable staff. I realized that the “real world” assessment of a book seems to net better results for me.

I’m not saying I won’t continue to love reading on my Kindle, but I am going to make a more concerted effort to get to some of my favorite Indies: Bay Books, Laguna Beach Books, and Vroman’s in Pasadena to name a few.

How about you? Where do you go for great recommendations? Please participate in the poll below. I’d love it if you would also follow up with a comment to elaborate on your response.


  1. I usually get my recommendations on Goodreads but first I’m browsing through the online bookstore I have found. If I find something that looks and sounds interesting, I check it on Goodreads. I often encountered a lot of negative criticisms on the books I still decided to buy and I loved the book! So I try to go by instinct now and the more mixed criticisms there are, the more likely I buy the book 🙂

    • Kovgab, I’ve had the same experience. Also the opposite, where a book might have a lot of very positive reviews, but I find that it just isn’t for me.

  2. Thanks for the names of more bookstores to haunt on my next road trip to California. I really enjoyed finding books in new places I had not explored before. I too download samples – but mostly to remind myself that I want to order the book when my library (finally) gets a copy. Sometimes, I can’t wait and press that little button that sends the book electronically – but sometimes, those books, I don’t finish. You are right about leafing through the book, reading about the author, smelling the pages…
    As for reviews – depends on who writes them 🙂

    • Actually, it turns out I’ll be going to Monterey/Salinas in Aug or Sept, so I’ll be checking back on your adventures as well – especially lunch at the Steinbeck house,

  3. Have fun! I can’t wait to go back.

  4. The friend I’m traveling with has actually found, and rented for us, the Steinbeck Cottage in Pacific Grove. Apparently it was a summer cottage that he lived in briefly in 1941. I’m trying to decide which book(s) to reread before our trip. Do you have a recommendation?

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